The US nation’s fastest paratriathletes are set to compete for national titles in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, at the USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Championships on 25 June 2017. More than 50 athletes are currently registered for either the National Championship division or the Physically Challenged Open Division.
Athletes in six paratriathlon sport classes (revised for 2017) will complete a sprint-distance 750m swim, 20K bike and 5K run course.
The race, held as part of the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon, will start and finish at the picturesque setting of Prairie Springs Park. Lake Andrea, a 100-acre spring-fed lake, will serve as the swim venue. The bike course travels roads within the village of Pleasant Prairie, as well as a frontage road with long straightaways, and the run course winds through Prairie Springs Park on paved and gravel paths.
Five members of the 2016 US Paralympic Team are set to compete in Pleasant Prairie. Several athletes on the start list are coming off strong performances in World Paratriathlon Series races earlier this season. Top-performing athletes at Paratriathlon Nationals who are not already members of the USA Paratriathlon National Team will be considered for the USA Paratriathlon Development Team Program, designed to identify and develop athletic potential leading toward the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
“With the excitement garnered from the sport’s debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, we’ve seen steady growth in interest, participation and talent in paratriathlon,” said Amanda Duke Boulet, Paratriathlon Program Senior Manager at USA Triathlon. “The Paratriathlon National Championships are a critical piece of our talent identification process, as we evaluate athletes who have the potential to be competitive at the Paralympic Games, world championships and other elite international races.”
To compete at Paratriathlon Nationals, athletes must be officially classified and have competed at a USA Triathlon or ITU Sanctioned Event that meets distance and time standards between 1 May 2016 and 28 May 2017. Complete details on qualification standards and the link to register are available online.
Athletes who are not classified or do not meet the qualifying time standards may participate in the Physically Challenged Open Wave, which has no qualification criteria and does not qualify athletes for national titles.
At the 2016 Paratriathlon National Championships, held in Santa Cruz, California, athletes were awarded national titles in five sport categories. In 2017, the ITU increased its sport classes to six, adjusting how athletes were grouped for competition to ensure a more level playing field.